WVNano, based at West Virginia University, and LabSmith, Inc, a developer of tools for science, are working together to create a portable device that will rapidly identify environmental contamination agents with a grant from the National Science Foundation awarded through the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.

The project is titled “Environmental Sensing Using a Broadly Selective Aptamer” and is a key in WVNano’s focus activity of providing infrastructure and research in nanoscale science and engineering while integrating education, workforce development and outreach programs.

Yolanda Fintschenko, director of business development for LabSmith, said the joint project will enable the development of a portable identification system, which will have wide-ranging abilities to detect environmental contaminants and provide key information for containment and mitigation.

David Lederman, WVNano’s technical principal investigator on the project, said LabSmith’s expertise in nanofluidic experimentation is an excellent complement to WVNano’s interdisciplinary research team.

“Labsmith’s product expertise and assistance in training graduate students provides additional opportunities for students to participate in technology transfer,” Lederman said. “This partnership will help our research progress quickly without the typical delays associated with constructing experimental setups and prototyping nanofluidic circuits.”

The project is a “seed research program” for WVNano and was established to complement current WVNano research in bionanotechnology. “Seed program” projects aim to acquire preliminary data for projects and establish innovative educational/research alliances with industry.

Unlike previous attempts at contaminant identification, this strategy will result in the first analytical method for fast, field-deployable, and reliable identification of a broad range of contaminants.

LabSmith Inc. manufactures equipment critical to transforming device design into prototype instruments, and will also host graduate students from the WVU who will train and carry out experimentation at LabSmith facilities in Livermore, California.

LabSmith, Inc. builds laboratory tools that further the art of research as well as products that control all aspects of experimentation, including timing, synchronization, high voltage and current sourcing, fluid routing and event capture and visualization.

WVNano is the state of West Virginia’s initiative for nanoscale science, engineering and education. Its specific goal is to provide necessary infrastructure to stimulate innovative research in the area of nanoscale science and engineering while integrating education, workforce development and outreach programs.



Contact: Christie Zachary, WVNano
304-293-8281; Christie.Zachary@mail.wvu.edu

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.